Tributes have flooded in for one of the city’s best loved ministers, Canon Alex Cheevers, who served in both St Hilda’s in Dunmurry and, more recently, at Magheragall Parish.
Canon Cheevers passed away after a long illness on Friday August 22.
The Bishop of Down and Dromore, Harold Millar, led the tributes to the Church of Ireland minister, who retired to Dromore and the Parish of Magherally in 2004.
In a moving tribute to Canon Cheevers, the Bishop, who led the funeral in Magherally Parish Church on Thursday (August 28), said: “Canon Alex Cheevers entered into the closer presence of the Lord, peacefully, after a long illness.
“He was deeply assured of his salvation and, even in his times of weakness, did not want to draw attention to himself, but rather to his Master.
“I have known Alex throughout my ministry as we were curates together in Carrickfergus in the 1970s.
“He was a wonderful example of a minister with a truly pastoral heart, who cared for all without distinction.
“Alex’s entire ministry was in the diocese of Connor, but he moved in retirement to Dromore.
“Our love and prayers are with his wife Maureen and his daughters Joyce and Pauline.”
Canon Cheevers began his ministry in Carrickfergus in 1973, before moving to St Hilda’s in Seymour Hill in 1982. The current minister of St Hilda’s, Rev David Boyland, said Canon Cheevers was fondly remembered in the Dunmurry church. “He is very fondly remember,” said Rev Boyland. “People spoke very highly of his ministry and he laid a very firm foundation for the ministers coming after him.”
In 1991 the then Rev Cheevers became the minister at Magheragall Parish Church and he was elevated to Canon at Belfast Cathedral in 2001.
Rev Nicholas Dark, the current minister at Magheragall Parish Church, where Canon Cheevers will be buried, said he was greatly loved by everyone at the church.
When Canon Cheevers retired he worshipped at Magherally Parish Church outside Dromore.
Rev David Palmer commented: “Alex retired to this parish and he was well known because as well as worshipping here, he also filled in the vacancy before I arrived and had been taking services for some time.”
As well as passion for his ministry, Canon Cheevers was also passionate about remembering those who served their country during two world wars.
He frequently led battlefield tours from Northern Ireland and had the honour of leading the commemoration services at the Ulster Tower and Guillemont Church to mark the 95th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
Canon Cheevers also served for many years as Chaplain for the Royal British Legion in Lisburn.
A spokesperson for the Royal British Legion in Lisburn said Cano Cheever’s death would be “a loss to many.”
He added: “He was Lisburn RBL padre for many years
“We would like to extend our condolences to the Cheevers family.”
Canon Cheevers funeral was held on Thursday August 28 in Magherally Parish Church, with a burial afterwards at Magheragall Parish Church.
Canon Cheevers is survived by his wife Maureen. daughters Joyce and Pauline, sons-in-law of Robin and Paul and granddaughters Emma and Kerry.